Sunday, May 03, 2009

TCM 2009 - Year 3

If only all my marathons could go as well and feel as good as my third running of the Tacoma City Marathon!

Summary: Marathon #32 in the bag, bringing the marathon & ultra count to 42. Time was 5:38:27 by the Garmin, compared to 5:52 in year 1 and 5:29 last year.

Detailed version: Marathon weekend started about 3:00 on Friday with a five hour shift working the expo. Eric and I were in charge of day of race registrations. I looked down the line of volunteers handing out packets, shirts and goody bags and realized that every single one was from the Y Run Club. And that didn't count those on the earlier shift, those helping move supplies, those volunteering on Saturday and on race day. I'm here to tell you, we have one stellar group of runners in Puyallup! Of course, it helps that Rob is the volunteer coordinator for TCM - we all love helping him out. Working the expo is a blast - meeting new runners, answering questions, trash talking old friends and other Marathon Maniacs - what fun! After we closed down a few of us walked to a local bar for some burgers and fries to round out the evening.

Saturday, Eric and I both opted for a 2.68 mile run with the group in the morning, followed by an early departure to coffee. After hanging out at Starbucks for a couple hours, we went home to clean house and then spent the day lolly gagging around. I guess it could be more politely termed "resting". We also spent time checking the hour-by-hour weather forecast. Despite the fact that the wind was blowing the rain sideways, and the sky had opened up, the forecast was good. We crossed our fingers and hoped that they were right.

We were up early this morning at 4:15. I was taking the early start at 6:00 am, and Eric needed to meet the other pacers at the same time, but a few blocks away. The first thing to do was check on the weather: clear skies, no wind, temp at about 44 degrees. Perfect! Eric dropped me at the start line about 35 minutes early and headed down to the pacer meeting. I was surprised to see him jogging down the sidewalk toward me about 15 minutes later - he'd seen a pair of sunglasses in the car that he thought I needed. But I didn't. They were my car glasses, I had my running ones with me. (Side note: after Lasik surgery you are told to wear sunglasses religiously for the next year. Even if I hadn't been told to do that, I would be, as my eyes are quite sensitive to light now. Eric assures me that this improves as the year goes on).

Jenny, Jessica and I ran together for the whole race. TCM is a hilly course - rolling hills through the city, then a nice long downhill to the waterfront, then about mile 11, just after the tunnel, the first big hill. A long climb takes us up to our favorite park, Pt. Defiance. Regular readers know that Pt. Defiance is a five mile, hilly, hilly loop. Today the sun was streaming through the old growth, hitting the wet plants and roads from last night's storm and making every thing steam. Runners were steaming, roads were steaming, bushes were steaming. It was beautiful and humid. My sunglasses were so fogged up I had to take them off - which was fine as we were under the canopy. After leaving the park, we turn the corner to face the infamous "dip". Down, down, down, up, up, up. Another corner and short flat stretch. Right at the end of this, we were on our walk break and passing a group of spectators. A little girl, probably about three, looked at us and said "they aren't even running!" prompting much laughter. We turned the corner and faced the one mile hill of Vassault. After that, there were more hills, but of the rolling type, not the huge type. All in all, the mega-hill section of the course lasts from about mile 11 through mile 18. It isn't till about mile 24.5 that we finally pass the last hill on the course.

By this point, I was feeling amazement. I didn't want to say it out loud, but I was wondering when I was going to get tired, and when my hip would really start to hurt. I kept chugging along, thinking about the beautiful weather, how good I was feeling, and yes, about my sister Sue. I finally said it out loud to Jenny and Jessica - that I had not felt this good in a marathon ever! Jenny said she'd heard me say that another time, and we started trying to figure out when. Best we could come up with was over a year ago.

I had a great race. I felt good, I had a little bit of achy knees and feet - normal - but none of the hip pain I usually feel. Two small blisters on the tips of my second toes - also normal. I felt energized and strong the whole way. What a day!

One of my very favorite parts of this race is knowing so many volunteers along the course. I collected hugs and high-fives, smile after smile and tons of encouragement from all our friends, and as well as all the great volunteers that we didn't know. We thanked them all and we thanked every police officer we saw. Taking the early start meant that as we ran along the water, the leaders passed us, then in the park the pace groups began passing - more friends and lots of Maniacs. I actually missed it when Eric took his pace group by - I was in the porta potty - we shouted out to each other anyway. Rob rode up on his bike - he was out checking in with volunteers along the course - and stayed beside us for a while - more great fun. Coming into the finish chute, I looked up to see a line of friends waiting for us, wrapped in silver blankets, cheering like mad. All in all, this was my best race of the year - both in terms of how I felt and overall fun factor. And, that's the way I like it!


jessica said...

It really was a great day! You were rested and it showed today, we did it, hills and all. I appreciate the encouragement to get me through the run and across that finish line - have you thought about being a 5:30 pacer? Anyway, thanks again, this run will be memorable for many reasons, especially because I was able to enjoy it with such amazing friends! talk to you soon

Sunshine Girl said...

Way to go, honey!!
This sounds like my kind of marathon with all of the ups and downs. Glad to hear you are feeling good and re-energized. Nice work Michelle.

Bret said...

Wow I gotta pick up the pace, number 42! Congrats! Sounds like a good day to run. I am up in Seattle this week. I was thinking of all you TCM marathoners today while I was on my way to work. I was a tad jealous.

Isn't it fun with it doesn't hurt a whole bunch? I love those days.

So you and Eric coming down to do Mac Forest 50k in Corvallis Saturday right???? Just a few muddy hills.

Wes said...

Bottle some of that up and send it my way :-)

bagelsong said...

Michelle, I loved reading this happy race report. It was indeed a perfect day for a marathon. Great job!

Annette said...

Wa-hoo! So glad to hear you had such a great race. Lovin' the good news. It's fun when you have lots of people you know along the way, too! Keep it up, you Maniac, you! :)

justrun said...

That is wonderful, Michelle! Congratulations! If only my body could feel as good as my mind does all the time!

robtherunner said...

Wonderful job out there, Michelle! It was great being able to see you out on the course and chat for a bit. You all looked great when I saw and it sounds like things went well.

Thomas said...

I still remember your first marathon. It's not that long ago! I cannot believe you are at #42 already!

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Great post Michelle. I'll try to post this afternoon with the photos. Tuesday is my least busy day! I am glad you have fun too and flet so well!

scott keeps running said...

Great job as always. You rock.

And thanks for the fueling suggestions. I'm definitely going to try to go liquid.

Dori said...

Congratulations, Michelle, on number 32. I'm waiting for the day when I have an easy marathon.

lizzie lee said...

Great race... Soon you'll be having a milestone of 50 marathons and ultra... go for it... Are you running R&R?

You are a good observer. I indeed have lost a lot of weight since the diagnostics and personal loss. 10 pounds. Stress definitely affects us.

But moving on, and glad to be back and "visiting" with all of you!!!

Anne said...

I love the way you and Eric work as a true team despite the differences in your predicted finish times. Sounds like a perfect race, Michelle. So glad everything went as well as it did, weather and blisters especially.

Sunshine said...

Oh glorious weekend!!
You had it all. Volunteering, friends, work, running, joy!
Congratulations.. good job.

Joe said...

Michelle, sorry I'm's been a bodacious week.

How wonderful for this marathon report!! I'm so happy for you!! And to run with Jenny and Jess all the way is a treat!!

Bask in this one!!! Sunglasses or not!!! Congrats!!